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Hess expects to produce as much as 90K barrels a day in N.D. in second quarter

Oil and natural gas producer Hess reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday.

The company, a major operator in North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, posted first-quarter net income of $386 million, or $1.20 per share, compared with $1.28 billion, or $3.72 per share, a year earlier.

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While North Dakota production fell in the first quarter as the company completed the expansion of its Tioga gas plant, the project is now finished, and Bakken production is currently in excess of 80,000 barrels oil equivalent per day, Hess said.

The company expects to produce about 80,000 to 90,000 barrels per day of North Dakota oil in the second quarter.

Executives said they are moving forward on a planned master limited partnership for their North Dakota pipeline assets, and expect the transaction to be completed by 2015. Hess would keep a majority stake in the MLP, executives said.

Shares of Hess were up 0.9 percent at $88.85 on the New York Stock Exchange at midday on Wednesday. Excluding one-time items, the company posted a profit of $1.38 per share.

By that measure, analysts on average expected earnings of $1.04 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.